When it first appeared in 2014, the Jeep Cherokee's look sharply divided the brand's faithful. What that polarizing look has done since, however, is help the Cherokee sell like hotcakes, along with the model’s authentic ruggedness and the freedom of its a la carte option lineup.
What's New for 2018
Jeep has revamped the Cherokee’s trim levels – killing the bottom-shelf Sport to leave the Latitude as the new base while fortifying its list of standard features with HID headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, and a backup camera. A brand new Latitude Plus debuts, outfitted with an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite radio, and more.
Also new is the $2,295 Tech Connect Package. Created in partnership with Amazon and available on the Latitude trim, it includes the 8.4-inch Uconnect 3C system, an Amazon Echo Dot device, a three-month subscription to the Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan and a three-month membership to Audible. The package allows Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant to interface with the Cherokee so that owners can remotely start and stop the engine, lock/unlock the doors, and more via Alexa voice commands.
Choosing Your Jeep Cherokee
Deciding on which 2018 Jeep Cherokee is the right fit is as simple – or difficult – as figuring out what one will require of it. Starting from the basic commuter-duty Latitude with front-wheel drive ($24,990 including $1,095 destination), the Cherokee can be outfitted as a high-content luxury cruiser, a rugged rock-crawler, and everything in between.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque is standard on nearly every Cherokee. A 3.2-liter V6 with 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque and standard stop/start technology is a $1,745 option across the board, except on the range-topping, four-wheel-drive-equipped Overland. Aside from the off-road-ready Trailhawk, front-wheel drive is standard while one of Jeep's many four-wheel-drive systems is a $1,500 optional extra. A nine-speed automatic is the only available transmission.
Front-drive four-cylinder Cherokee models return an EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon city, 30 highway, and 25 combined, while a front-drive V6 only loses one mpg on the highway and combined ratings. Grabbing a four-wheel-drive Latitude with the four-cylinder drops the EPA estimate to 21 city, 28 highway, and 23 combined, while the base V6/four-wheel-drive combo loses one mpg in the city.
Because it uses a different four-wheel-drive system – Jeep's so-called Active Drive II – the Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland share distinct fuel economy estimates. Four-cylinder models return 21 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined, while adding the V6 to any of these models drops the EPA estimates to 18 city, 26 highway, and 21 combined.
Bringing up the rear is the off-road-ready Cherokee Trailhawk – in four-cylinder form, it nets just 19 city, 25 highway, and 22 combined, although ultimate inefficiency is still the realm of the V6 model, which returns just 18 mpg city, 24 highway, and 21 combined.
The 2018 Jeep Cherokee is available in five trims.
If you like the Cherokee but can’t stand its unorthodox looks, fear not: the 2019 model – among other things – has been spied wearing a new front fascia with more conventional style. But if you think the 2018 is the bee’s knees – you don’t need the full-on off-road Trailhawk – the new Latitude Plus trim level is the sweet spot for affordability and available options.